POLITICS
08/04/2018 15:56 BST | Updated 08/04/2018 16:00 BST

Sunday Shows Round-Up: Knife Crime, Anti-Semitism And Brexit

Spike in violence dominates the weekend's political interviews.

SajidJavid
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid attempted to defend the Government's record on crime on the Andrew Marr Show

The Easter break is coming to a close and that can only mean one thing - the return of Sunday politics shows. 

The spike in knife crime, marking 20 years on from the Good Friday Agreement and whether or not a new centrist movement is set to sweep British politics were all making the news. 

So, without further ado, here is your round-up. 

The Andrew Marr Show 

First up was Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner, who wasted no time in launching an attack on the Government, blaming the wave in violent crime on cutbacks to community policing. 

For the first time ever, the murder rate in London has overtaken that of New York’s, with Scotland Yard launching 56 murder investigations this year alone. 

But the rise in violent crime was “not just about London”, said Rayner. 

“We have seen knife crime increase in 39 of the 43 police forces across the UK,” she said. 

“It’s not just about austerity but I think when the Home Secretary sticks her head in the sand and suggests that losing 21,000 police officers off our streets doesn’t have an effect then I think that’s a very naive position.”

Cuts to youth services and education also have a “knock-on effect”, she said.

“It’s not just about police, of course it’s not, it’s about the wider public service and supporting families to make the right choices,” she said.

She said Labour supported “evidence-based” stop and search tactics based on local intelligence “to ensure that we know who those children are and we target them rather than targeting on ethnicity”.

She said police’s powers to stop and search needed reform, adding: “It’s targeting stop and search rather than just going randomly around saying ‘I think you look like you might be a gang member so therefore I’m going to stop and search you’.”

Rayner also defended fellow Labour MP Thangam Debbonaire, who was heckled at a meeting of her constituency party in Bristol for attending an anti-Semitism demonstration.

She said: “Jeremy (Corbyn) has been quite clear there’s no place for anti-Semitism in our party but I have been a little frustrated that we haven’t moved forward on the Chakrabarti report as fast as I would have liked to have seen.

“But Jennie Formby, our new general secretary, made it her number one priority and we need to make sure that the full Chakrabarti report is implemented and we have absolute zero tolerance.”

Rayner added: “It can’t be right when people see on social media - and it’s not just in the Labour Party but across the board - anti-Semitic rhetoric and they see no action taken or the action is far too slow.”

It came after Andrew Gwynne, the Shadow Communities Secretary, said anti-Semitism has “absolutely no place” in the Labour Party or wider society after being named as a member of a Facebook group where offensive content was posted. He claims he was added to the group without his knowledge. 

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Gwynne was listed as a member of the LabourSupporters page on Facebook, where posts last week included one which said “Jews will pay 7 times more for their sins - Islam will unite the religious world”. 

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid defended the Government’s record on crime in an interview on the flagship BBC show. 

Reacting to the rise in knife crime, he said austerity was not to blame, adding: “There isn’t one single cause, it is a complex issue so it will require action on many fronts.”

He admitted there was “a real problem” but said crime was lower in 2010, when there were many more police officers on the streets. 

“If you go back a decade serious violent crime was a lot higher than it is today but so were the police numbers,” he said.  

Emergency plans to extend stop and search are in a tough package of measures Home Secretary Amber Rudd will be announcing on Monday. She also plans to challenge social media companies to do more to rid the web of gang-related content. 

The number of stop and search instances fell when Theresa May was Home Secretary, however. 

But Javid defended that trend. He said: “When Theresa May was home secretary, what she wanted to do was, rightly, make sure when stop and search powers are used that they are used within the law.”

He added: “We are going to consult on extending the powers of stop and search so that if the police believe someone is in possession of acid with no good use in public then they will be able to stop and search.” 

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Chris Wylie also gave an interview to Marr. 

Wylie has said the UK lacks a “democratic mandate” for leaving Europe in the wake of revelations about the Brexit campaign’s alleged links to data harvesting. 

It came after Facebook suspended the Canadian data firm AggregateIQ with which the official Vote Leave campaign spent 40% of its budget. 

The firm has links to Cambridge Analytica, which is said to have harvested data from 87 million Facebook profiles without consent, and its parent company SCL.

Wylie told Marr: “What I’m saying, and I’m saying this as someone who supported Leave, I’m saying this as a euro-sceptic myself, [is that] this is a fundamental change to the constitutional settlements of Britain, the foundational law of Britain. 

“What I am saying is, if we can’t go back from Brexit, if this is a one-time decision, we need absolute clarity that the decision made by the British people was made fairly and compliant with the law. 

“And so, if that means that we have to go back to the British people and ask for a clarification, I think the British people should have a say and make sure that what we’re doing is with the consent of people. 

“I want a democratic mandate for Brexit,” he added. 

 

Sunday With Paterson  

Racial equality campaigner Stafford Scott was first up to speak to Niall Paterson on Sky and took an entirely different view to Labour on the rise in violent crime.

Scott said there was a “war” going on in the Haringey area of north London between groups of youngsters from Tottenham and Wood Green, fuelled by social media.

Scott, who is from Tottenham, hit out at plans to increase the number of police in the area, accusing politicians of failing young black people and “criminalising our community”.

“The police have a role to play but this isn’t only about policing and that is the problem,” he said. 

“Local authorities, central government, the mayor’s office, (they) have all reneged on their responsibility to these people.

“There is no safeguarding, there is no recognition that black kids are the victims as well as being the perpetrators.

“So all we get is policing and the only response we get is the kind of response we got from Cressida Dick yesterday, which is we are going to be harder and we are going to put more out there, which is going to cause more response and reaction.”

He added: “It doesn’t matter the numbers of police, it’s about the pressure the state - the oppressive state - is putting on these young people that is making them respond in the way that they are.” 

Shadow policing minister Louise Haigh, meanwhile, said a “public health approach” to tackling violent crime was required, involving not just the police.

Haigh, a former special constable, told Sky’s Sunday With Paterson: “We cannot arrest ourselves out of this problem, we can’t prosecute our way out of this problem and we have got a fantastic example on our doorstep in Scotland, which used to be one of the most dangerous countries in the developed world, one of the most violent countries in the developed world.

“Last year they didn’t have a single young person that was killed through bladed weapons or through knives.

“And that is because they took a cross-governmental approach to tackling knife crime.”

She claimed that no research had been done into knife crime since 2006, adding: “We don’t know what the impact of austerity or indeed of the changes around social media have had on why young people are carrying knives and that should have been there in today’s announcement from the Government on their serious violence strategy.”

Next up was Labour peer Lord Adonis, who hit out at the BBC giving a platform to UKIP and Nigel Farage in the run up to the Brexit referendum. 

“The BBC gave Nigel Farage a platform he otherwise would not have had,” he said, citing the former UKIP leader’s 32 appearances on the flagship BBC One show Question Time. 

The pro-Remain politician had previously tweeted that Brexit was “largely the creation of the BBC”. 

When pressed on this by Paterson, Adonis said: ”Of course I’m not objecting to a plurality of voices, I’m objecting to the huge prominence they gave to Nigel Farage and his party over a number of years.” 

He added that “Brexit is not a done deal”, as Parliament had not given its backing to any deal, before he alleged that BBC editors, however, “regard the issue as settled”. 

Irish Ambassador to the UK Adrian O’Neill was also on the show to reflect on the two-decade anniversary of the Belfast peace accord. He said: “The Good Friday Agreement was our miracle after the horror of the 30 years that preceded it.” 

Crime Minister Victoria Atkins also gave an interview to Paterson. 

She said some of the violent crime figures were down to “better recording” but accepted “genuine rises” in some areas. 

Social media and young people using the platforms to taunt one another were driving some of the violence, she said as she attempted to explain the upward trend. 

“We want to stop the assumption among some young people that it is normal to carry a knife,” she said. 

“There are all sorts of factors and, indeed the serious violence strategy will show the impact of drugs.” 

London’s murder rate last week overtook that of New York’s, but a 21,000 drop in police numbers since 2010 was not to blame, said Atkins. 


Pienaar’s Politics 

Policing Minister Nick Hurd acknowledged that forces were “stretched at the moment” in his interview on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics

He said: “We are investing more in our police system because our police system is stretched.

“It’s not just about, of course, the increase in violent crime, we’re seeing a pattern change in terms of demand on police and we’ve listened and responded to that and that’s why I’ve said this year as a country we’re investing £1 billion more in our police system than we were back in 2015-16.

“There’s no dispute about the pressure on the front line of policing and we’ve responded to that with additional investment.

“What I’m pushing back on is making a direct link between fall in officer numbers and this increase in violence because it’s actually much more complicated than that.”

Shadow Early Years Minister, meanwhile, slammed the loss of an estimated 1,000 Sure Start centres since 2010 and how teachers were increasingly reporting children turning up to school malnourished. 

“This [the UK not a safe place for children with this Government,” she said.